Adoption is not something to be entered into haphazardly. One must consider all the possible outcomes, occurrences, and obstacles that may arise. This is even more true when a family (or individual) is considering a transracial adoption (when the race of the adopted child is different from that of one or both adoptive parents).
This is not a new issue in the United States. Transracial adoptions nearly stopped for 20 years, from the early 70s to the 90s, when they were condemned as “cultural genocide” by the National Black Social Workers Association (NBSWA). In 1994, after the Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act (which banned any agency receiving federal funds from interfering with adoptions based on race or nationality) was passed, we saw a significant rise in these adoptions. This act, as well as the Interethnic Adoption Provisions amendment, were designed to eliminate racial discriminations within the adoption system. (1)
While the legality of transracial adoption isn’t be up for debate, it’s imperative that we take a hard look at the cultural impact of such adoptions.
Developing a child’s cultural and racial identity is as important as developing his or her intellectual skills. They give the child a sense of pride, heritage, and belonging. Gloria Batiste Roberts, president of the NBSWA, believes that, “children deserve the right to be with people who look like them, people who understand what they are going through, who understand their culture.” But why should it matter?